Akron Welcomes Rosie the Underground Riveter

Aug 14, 2017

Akron's underground tunnel will be bored through by Rosie. Once the tunnel is completed, the $184 million machine will likely be sold to contractor Kenny Obayashi and be re-purposed.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan christened Rosie today

“I christen thee Rosie, in honor of the brave residents like Rosie May Jacob who went to war on the homefront here in Akron during World War II.”

The passenger-jet-sized machine will soon be boring a mile-long tunnel under the city.

Rosie will create the 30-foot-high tunnel as part of Akron’s billion-dollar sewer project. The machine was built in Solon and transported in sections to its starting point near downtown. The city paid $184 million for Rosie, which looks like the fuselage of a 747, but -- at 1,100 tons -- is much heavier.

Horrigan says the work Rosie is doing will help people in Northeast Ohio for decades to come.

“In a typical year, this tunnel will treat almost half-a-billion gallons of combined sewer overflow so it can be safely returned to the Cuyahoga River.”

Rosie is the culmination of three decades of planning for engineer Pat Gsellman.

“The front basically has a lot of little drilling elements that will actually drill into the soil and into the rock. Then it takes it down into this giant cylinder – looks like a huge pop can – as it digs in. Then it removes that muck and debris out the back end.”

Rosie is slated to begin work after Labor Day, drilling 6 inches a minute, 100 hours a week for almost eight months. The public can view the machine this Saturday at the Mustill Store from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.